Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey announced Tuesday that he is declaring a state of emergency over the ongoing migrant crisis at the United States-Mexico border and that he is deploying the Arizona National Guard to help handle the hundreds of people, including dozens of unaccompanied minors, who are flowing across the border daily.
“The situation in our border communities is just as bad, if not worse, than the coverage we’ve been seeing,” Ducey said in a statement Tuesday, noting that the ongoing border crisis has largely disappeared from national headlines, even though the flow of migrants across the United States’ southern border has not abated.
“It’s become evidently clear that Arizona needs the National Guard, and the White House is aware of that. Yet, to this day, there has been no action from this administration, and it doesn’t look like they are going to act any time soon,” he added. “If this administration isn’t going to do anything, then we will.”
Fox News noted Wednesday that Ducey has been playing with the idea of deploying the National Guard since March, following reports that the Biden administration was facing an unprecedented number of unaccompanied minors presenting themselves at the southern border, forcing Customs and Border Patrol to care for thousands more children than it is equipped to handle.
“Deployment of the National Guard is critical to dealing with this crisis, and we are actively engaged in planning with the Guard,” a spokesman for the governor reportedly told the network last week.
“The Guard will be involved with installing and maintaining border cameras, collecting data, analyzing imagery for trends in border crossings, and helping with operations at detention centers,” Ducey’s office told Fox.
The decision picked up support from an unlikely place — Arizona’s Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly — who said that after visiting “Yuma Sector and speaking with Border Patrol and other local leaders,” that “it’s clear that their resources and staffing are strained.”
“There are important missions that the Arizona National Guard can perform at the border and the governor calling them up will provide assistance to both local law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security,” Kelly added in his own statement on the matter.
Fox noted that the United States Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) encountered nearly 200,000 migrants at the United States’ southern border in just March. “That’s up from 103,731 in March 2019 and 50,347 in March 2018,” The Wall Street Journal said in its own report.
“That includes a record 18,890 unaccompanied children, compared to 9,380 in March 2019 and 5,244 in March 2018. CBP also reported 53,623 encounters with family units last month, a 173% increase over February and the most since the peak of the 2019 border crisis,” the WSJ added. In 2020 the pandemic kept numbers low.”
President Joe Biden briefly referred to the situation as a “crisis” over the weekend but was officially corrected by his press secretary, Jen Psaki, on Monday.
“The president does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances is a crisis,” she said, explaining the president’s off-the-cuff remark.
Meanwhile, the global community has taken notice of the increase in child immigration. UNICEF, the United Nations child welfare organization, reported noticing a “surge” in child migrants in March, according to the BBC.
“The number of migrant children trying to reach the US from Mexico has increased ninefold since the start of 2021, UN children’s agency Unicef says,” per the British state news agency. “The rise from 380 to nearly 3,500 has overwhelmed the facilities at Mexico’s reception centers, it says. The children are mainly from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico itself. Half arrived without parents.”
“Nearly 300 children are added to their number every day, as they wait to cross into the US or are sent back,” the outlet reported.